Let’s Play “Name that Lifestance” (Revised 7/10/13)

It’s sad when a useful idea remains nameless. Words help us bring complex concepts into clear focus. Here is a lifestance looking for a label. Can you help find one for it?

What I have in mind is a form of agnosticism. Agnosticism means not knowing if there is a god, or not knowing the truth about some other contentious topic. But there are many kinds of agnosticism. One that I think is both helpful and under-utilized is based on two simple principles:

1. Whenever large numbers of sincere and competent people persistently disagree, we probably do not know who is right.

2. Principle #1 applies to a wide range of topics.

The hallmarks of this lifestance are objectivity and breadth. I have my own opinions about the existence of various sorts of gods, for example, but I also know that I could be mistaken. People who are just as smart and sincere as I am disagree with me about theology. I cannot float up above the fray and say, “Aha, that’s the truth!” Even so, I am sometimes able to sincerely acknowledge the biases and limitations of my own mind. Paradoxically, this realization helps me achieve a sort of objectivity, an ability to partially and temporarily detach from my own opinions. I can apply this principle to many issues, particularly in religion, philosophy, politics, and ethics.

What sort of label fits this wide-ranging meta-perspective? I’ve thought of several, but I’m not sure any of them are good enough.

* Wide-angle agnosticism
* Wide agnosticism
* Big-picture agnosticism
* Panagnosticism
* Metagnosticism

In Bridging the God Gap I speak of broad-spectrum agnosticism, but I’ve been told that sounds like an antibiotic.

So what do you think? And what terms would work for you? All suggestions are welcome!

Roger Christan Schriner

To subscribe to Theists & Atheists: Communication & Common Ground, click the “Follow” link on the upper left.

Advertisements

One thought on “Let’s Play “Name that Lifestance” (Revised 7/10/13)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s